COASTER Tool Benefits Blackfeet Reservation


A grant-writing workshop YERC hosted for Montana’s tribal colleges created an opportunity to apply our latest geospatial analysis tool


In 2012, YERC held a workshop for all 7 Montana Tribal Colleges at our lab in Bozeman to better learn about each others research and resources with an additional focus on grant writing and particular opportunities available to the tribal colleges. Discussions in between presentations resulted in several new collaborations.

YERC staff worked with the Blackfeet Community College to perform an ecosystem assessment of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Students conducted field work to measure on-the-ground ecological variables, then used YERC’s COASTER tool — the product of a National Science Foundation-funded collaboration with NASA scientists — to collect additional climate variables to assess changes in Net Primary Production at reservations across the Pacific Northwest.

Following the workshop, an instructor from Chief Dull Knife Community College on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation approached YERC staff about the development of a GIS and Remote Sensing Course. Working with YERC staff member Steve Jay and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Chief Dull Knife College obtained an instructional license for ESRI ArcGIS software. YERC staff then assisted the instructor in developing a teaching plan and curriculum to teach Native Students GIS and remote sensing.

Patrick Cross